Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days to Write True: Our Next Big Adventure!

So, our next big adventure that I alluded to is a bit different from this current one. Actually, VERY different.

We've talked about several things- traveling the country in a Winnebago and hiking the Appalachian Trial, among other things. In the case of the AT it's not something I've really wanted to do or something I feel anywhere near capable of doing. In the case of the Winnebago, I really, seriously, so hope it happens some day. But with both of those, we knew (if we did them as a family) they were a good ways down the road.

So we were kicking around ideas and also just speaking with excitement in our voices about small things we wanted to do when we got back to Mississippi- joining the pool, being more intentional in our relationships with specific friends, minimizing a lot.

And then Peyton discovered a blog and our life was immediately threatened to be turned upside down by this Mr. Money Mustache.

Peyton has enjoyed retail pharmacy to varying degrees over the years. He's good at it and I think he's been able to figure out how to find contentment and fulfillment in it as much as is possible for him. He's had amazing co-workers, wonderful bosses, and incredibly sweet patients. But he's also tossed around ideas quite frequently of doing something different.

Well, we realized when he started reading this blog that if he could "retire" early a whole world of options would be open to him.

He could teach third grade in the inner city.

We could do some type of full time ministry, without worrying about funding for our own living expenses.

He could help me with homeschooling in a much deeper way.

He could work one day a week as a pharmacist and have the other four weekdays to do meaningful work that we wouldn't be compensated for.

We'd have the freedom to have more kids (or rather I'd have the courage) than if he was working in a traditional setting. We'd have the freedom to adopt a child (or children) that might be more than I thought I could handle on my own.

He could have an even more daily presence in our family, and our family (the four of us now) could serve others, in a very different way than we'd be able to do with him working full time as a pharmacist.

We'd have more flexibility for other adventures and more fluidity in our roles. *I* could teach third grade in the inner city. I could do some freelance writing. I could spend more time volunteering at places I believe in. And someone would still be at home with our children.

We wouldn't be dependent on Peyton's pharmacy salary. Actually, we wouldn't be dependent on any salary.

But all this will require some sacrifice. We talked to our financial guy while we've been home and turns out, it is actually possible. It's entirely doable. But...the big adventure is living on a TINY FRACTION OF PEYTON'S INCOME for the next three or four years.

That's going to be hard. I don't think of myself as a frivolous gal, but it's going to be HARD.

I kept telling Peyton initially that we already live on a pretty modest budget (we do), but he kept saying I was comparing us to the rest of America and I didn't need to let that be my measuring stick. And he was right.

We have a lot of expenses that aren't truly necessary. Luxuries. I actually do engage is more frivolous spending than I'd like to tell myself. It turns out nobody owes me a dinner at a restaurant once a week. It turns out that I don't just deserve to get my hair highlighted every few months. It turns out that, even though I've made big strides, I'm not entitled to spend what I do on clothes for the children.

That was a big word that occurred to me in all this. I had this sense of pride because we HAVE made good decisions and are already living in a way many folks our age aren't- we have literally no debt. Our school debt is paid off. Our cars are paid off. Our whole damn house is paid off. And we've made sacrifices. I drive a '94 Buick and our house is basically tiny for what most people in our income bracket live in.

And I had convinced myself that it was okay to drop five hundred dollars on the children's clothes for one season. That there was no amount of eating out that could offseat our good behavior in those other areas. That spending huge chunks of change at Target on the regular was an acceptable activity.

Because I'm not yet thirty and MY WHOLE DAMN HOUSE IS PAID OFF.

I realized this is totally an attitude of entitlement.

And I was fighting against something that not only did Peyton deeply desire, but something I knew would probably provide a better life for our family and something I knew would help us all contribute to our communities in more meaningful ways.

I also realized that this is not an indefinite time of downward mobility. This is less than five years. Surely I can do anything for a few years with my best people by my side?

So we're doing it. When we move back, we're slashing the budget in a major way.

I'm hoping in the process we'll learn a lot about ourselves, become closer to one another, appreciate the intangibles more, and grow in humility and Christian love.


Peyton said...

This blog, while not as entertaining or easy to read has good info also.

Leslie Lambert said...

I hope you post more about this - it's so fascinating to me!

Esther Fabbricante said...

I am amazed at the way you express your feelings and outlook on life. We will be so glad to have you back in Brandon.